If you’re a casual observer of social media, you might believe the common myth that “TikToker” and “Gen Z” are synonymous. The myth is common among many marketers and brands and seems to be widespread overall. Googling, “TikTok Gen X” yields results about… Gen Z. (I had to confirm I’d typed in the right term!)
To be fair, the platform was initially more popular among the group born between 1997 and 2012, currently aged between 12 and 25. But the truth is that the popularity of the app is increasing among a range of demographics.
Being most popular among Gen Z is decidedly not the same as being not popular with other generations. The percentage of users might be highest in Gen Z, but plenty of others still love it.
Just because Gen Z may have led the way doesn’t mean other generations haven’t also moved to embrace TikTok.
TikTok is the first non-Meta app (and the fifth app of all time) to surpass 3 billion downloads. In 2021, the platform remained the most-download app globally, with 656 million downloads.
No app grows to this phenomenal level of popularity by having a narrow appeal.
For example, some popular Swiss TikTokers on the cusp of GenX and millennials include _ohheyvivi_, who posts about fashion, beauty, food, sports, and being a mom, and soleil_fatima, who posts about sports, women’s issues, health, and fashion. Jonny Fischer shares his attempts at trends enjoyed by younger TikTokers, as well as amusing juxtapositions between youthful partying and his godfather role of Manu’s young kids aka his comedian partner from famous Cabaret Divertimento. Doris Flury posts healthy recipes, including vegan and gluten-free cookies.
Millennial TikTokers are among our “Swiss Influencers & Content Creators to Keep an Eye On.” Eric Lüthi creates comedy content on his own or with his friend T-Ronimo, where they often present two female characters, Bresha and Selina, in funny situations.
The hashtag #genX has 6.6B views and includes posts on parenting teens, nostalgic memories from the ‘90s, and aging. Popular GenX posters include Jack Black, a comedian whose WAP dance earned more than 5 million views. Finance expert Marie shares line dance tutorials and recreates ‘80s and ’90s dance moves with her friends and family, including her Gen Z and millennial kids.
TikTok Plays a Role in The Lives of Gen Zers
TikTok appears to be the go-to search engine for Gen Z. Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior Vice President who runs Google’s Knowledge & Information organization, said, “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”
Stanford scholar describes Gen Z as a highly collaborative cohort that cares deeply about others. Their social justice advocacy extends to TikTok. A coalition of top Gen Z TikTok stars is pledging to cease all work with Amazon until the company meets the demands of the Amazon Labor Union. The group of 70 TikTok creators boasts a combined following of over 51 million.
Different Generations Use TikTok Differently
Plenty of older people also enjoy dance videos, and who doesn’t love a silly animal video? My Gen Z son showed Gen X me this funny parrot one recently and I very much enjoyed it. AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons) outlined some ways in which use for older people may differ. “Some older adults join TikTok to bond with their kids and grandkids… TikTok is full of diversions that may help older folks, or people of any age, feel less bored or lonely.”
According to the Deloitte Digital Media Trends Survey 15th Edition, 84% of all consumers say they use social media platforms, although there are generational distinctions. 27% of Gen Z likes to watch TV shows and movies via social media, as does 23% of Gen X. However, only 25% of Gen X listens to music, whereas 44% of Gen Z does.
Older generations use social media differently than Gen Z… but they still use it.
TikTok, in particular, is used by 10% of Gen Xers, and 5% of baby boomers, according to a study conducted by Fortune and SurveyMonkey, but is rising fast. 40% of Baby Boomers view social media as an essential part of their lives. Engaging on social platforms is a top 3 entertainment activity for 17% of Gen X and 11% of Boomers. Kingfluencers has also worked with numerous influencers including and beyond Gen Z, such as CorEstilo Style, to build successful collaborations for L’Oréal.
TikTok is About Communities & Connection
NPR recently wrote that Facebook is making radical changes to keep up with TikTok. “TikTok’s got one fundamental thing that Facebook doesn’t have, TikTok is cool. And it’s very hard to recreate cool,” said Matt Navarra, a social media consultant, and analyst.
As users continue to spend a lot of time on the app, TikTok promotes a variety of positive, uplifting activities. TikTok also offers extensive support to content creators – even those creators who author content that’s consumed outside of the platform. Most recently, TikTok has partnered with Barnes & Noble and their creator community to launch the #BookTokChallenge, which encourages people to read new books and authors, and then share their reactions.
Even TikTok ads are enjoyed by a wide audience. Kantar’s latest Media Reactions Report ranked TikTok #1 for “ad equity,” a measurement of the audience’s attitude and preference towards ads. “TikTok’s branded solutions aren’t perceived as just “ads” by audiences. In fact, TikTok tops the list for delivering branded content that actually resonates with online consumers.”
Building a Strong TikTok Presence
Back in May 2021, TikTok was insisting that no platform has that reach without “something for everyone” while pitching marketers and looking to shake up perception that it’s a Gen Z phenomenon. TikTok’s continuing growth in global popularity reveals just how untrue it is to claim the platform is the exclusive domain of Gen Z.
Kingfluencers works with brands to build a strong TikTok presence. Contact us to get started developing and implementing a successful TikTok strategy that will generate multiple benefits, today and in the future.
Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing